Life, Autism, Disability, and More

Weighted blankets for all, and for all a good night!

Okay, so today started way earlier than I normally like starting Saturday mornings. I was up at 6 a.m. to get out to Manvel for an autism conference. I am not a morning person. I’m also not an afternoon or evening person. And sometimes I’m not a night person. But I’m really, really not a morning person.

Two of the three sessions were great – the other was just good. I learned a lot, and I enjoyed finding out a lot about music therapy and thinking about how we might be able to get it into our school district.

But instead of writing about all that, I thought I would go ahead and write about something we did last week. We ran a Go Fund Me for Simon in order to get him a weighted blanket. And we raised enough to get two.

I’m going to write more about it later, but for now, I wanted to share a photo that gives a perfect example of why Simon would (I think) benefit from a weighted blanket.

This is Simon, lying on the floor with a bean bag on top of him. He had been getting upset again (when WILL that school dance finally appear?), and that was how he calmed himself.

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His first blanket will be here next Tuesday…more updates then!


Disco Dance.  Image by Stuart Miles via

Disco Dance. Image by Stuart Miles via












(By the way, there is no dance, at least not yet, but apparently someone has gotten it into his mind that the flyer from yesterday about the parent meeting was about a dance and we are hiding this magic dance from him. Hopefully by tomorrow we can stop repeating ourselves…)

Reading and Riding and Rough Days…

april 16Two days of updates in one day!

Let’s start with yesterday.

It was horseback riding time. And since SIRE will be part of a jousting event, his teacher decided to go ahead and have a jousting class. Because, you know, kids with swords on horses…what could possibly go wrong?

Okay, to be fair, nothing did. They were foam swords, and the kids got to remove rings with them and knock rings down and ride around and wave them. (The rules included not hitting the horses and not hitting their side riders. Pretty fair rules.)

Simon had a ball.

We were both exhausted. It’s about an hour drive each way, often more because of traffic. And it has been a long, long, long, long week.

But Simon loves it. He thinks it’s cool. He can tell you the name of his horse (Kansa) and what makes him walk (walk on) and what makes him trot (trot).

So we’ll be enrolling him in the summer classes. And in the fall classes. And in the spring classes next year, too. Because, well, it’s horses!

And then I crashed and burned after his lesson because my head was pounding, and when we stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel, I foolishly sat where the sun could get at me. It speared my eye on and off for the whole meal, which is what brought the headache to full migraine status. Hence yesterday’s blog.

Now, today, he got off the bus, and the bus driver motioned to me.

Apparently, there had been a kid on the bus who had gotten upset over something – not specified by her – and the kid had been whining and crying and making noise at a really high pitch. The noises had been bothering Simon, and so she wanted me to know, in case he had a bad afternoon once he was home.

Well, he didn’t seem to be bothered by the kid on the bus. But he did read the flyer that came home from school, the one that said that there was a parent support meeting tonight.

“We go to the dance,” he told me.


“We go to the dance,” he told me, pointing to the flyer he read.

“It’s not a dance,” I pointed to it. “See? Parent Meeting.”


I think you get the picture. I’m really not sure why he decided that the flyer was for a dance. He kindly pointed my finger to the “Dickinson High School” and made me read it for him so that he could repeat it multiple times.

I finally got his mini-fit calmed down by sitting on the couch with him and by reassuring him that when there was a dance, we would let him know, and, yes, he could go to school tomorrow.

(And the parent meeting tonight was also good and successful, although a bit poorly attended, possibly due to all the lovely weather rumbling through tonight.)

Sorry no blog update today…

As Simon said earlier: I am exhaustion

I am also exhaustion, with a migraine for additional fun.

Tomorrow I will write up today’s adventures. In the meantime, enjoy this pic of Simon riding Kansas and get some sleep. 





Rodeo and Rain

Today was the Special Kids Day at the Galveston Rodeo!

Today was also the day that the weather forecasters were totally wrong (again!), and while they promised that the rain would hold off until the end of the events. Didn’t happen.

We got there by 8:30 because Simon’s teacher told us that the bus would be leaving the school at 8 a.m., and they expected to be there within about half an hour. I could have sworn that, in years past, it was more like 9:30 or 10 before the busses got there, but I gave up my morning coffee just to make sure we were there on time.

The parking lot was empty when we got there.

No busses.

Lots of volunteers, standing around in purple and blue and other colorful shirts. Lots of cool stuff set up for later in the day.

But nope, not any sign of school children (or adults) with special needs.

Okay.  We hung out in the car.

And watched it get darker. And darker. And darker.

We got out of the car, stood over by the covered arena. Met up with the head of special programs for DISD who told us that she hadn’t even heard from the schools that the kids were on the way.


And it kept getting darker. And darker. And darker.

Then it started to rain, just as the busses showed up.

We had our umbrella with us, and we all got under the covering and into the seats.

Then it was time for waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

A lot of the busses had been delayed by the weather, so what normally started at 10 am instead started at about 11.

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But it did start, and everyone did enjoy it.

There was roping, barrel racing, bull riding, all the stuff that had been promised.

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There was, however, no carnival. No rides. No games.

The officials there decided to go ahead and bring the lunch into the kids instead of trying to herd a group of kids through the rain to the other covered building.

That was when we decided to go ahead and leave. Simon never lasts much beyond the rodeo – he has a really hard time transitioning back to school after trips – and so we let his teacher and his aides know that we were going to go ahead and take him out.

We headed to Sonic, got him a grilled cheese, and ran some errands.

Simon did have a bit of a rough day after that; I think the change in schedule really messed with him, and the weather was heavy and oppressive and definitely didn’t help any of us.

Nonetheless, a good time was had by all, as I think is clean from the pics included throughout this blog. :)

…and tomorrow is the rodeo!

DSCF2035Which we can’t forget because Simon told us multiple times after school today.

Our current schedule for Mondays is that Patrick comes home early to get Simon off the bus because I have class until 3:50. Then I come home after class, and we normally hang out, hit the store, whatever. Today, I got home, and Simon immediately let me know what tomorrow is: the rodeo!

He loves the rodeo.

It’s the Galveston County Rodeo, and every year, they offer a ‘Special Kids Day.’

It’s free, and it’s awesome fun. They have a short rodeo, complete with barrel riding, bull riding (teenagers trying to win scholarships – it’s very unique to see a high school boy trying to hang on to a bull for 8 seconds…especially for those of us from NJ who never thought of bull riding as a high school sport), and roping. Then the kids get free rides on whatever they open up in the carnival, and they get to play games that they always win and get little prizes. Simon normally gets at least one stuffed animal and hops on the merry go round.

So that’s where we’ll be tomorrow, bright and early.

Simon will hop the bus to school, eat his breakfast, and then hop the bus to the rodeo.

We, meanwhile, will eat our breakfast and then head to the rodeo and meet up with him and the rest of his class. Hopefully the rain will hold off until the afternoon!

Birthday party planning

april 12I know it’s only April, but I’ve already begun thinking about Simon’s birthday party. For a few reasons.

First, he’s going to be 13. Thirteen. A teenager. Oh dear god.

Second, we like to give him a good party because he likes it. While he doesn’t always seem to “get” birthdays (he will still tell you he’s 10 when you ask him how old he is), he likes to get presents. So planning a party – and setting up a quick Amazon wish list for him – is something that’s good to get done in advance.

Third, and final, he asked.

That’s the weirdest – and most important – part of it. Simon often starts focusing on the future, but it’s normally not a good kind of focus. It winds up being more like an obsession. He repeats it, he lets it upset him, he can’t let it go.

But in this case, he brought it up, saying that he wanted his birthday party. I asked him where he wanted it, and he told me, “Chuck E Cheese.” Because, as he has learned from all the commercials, Chuck E Cheese is where a kid can be a kid. So he loves going there, even if he doesn’t actually play most of the games. He much prefers to run in circles, see Chuck E when he comes out, and choose a prize.

Ah, prizes. When Simons hit the prize counter, we normally have anywhere from 500 to 1,500 tickets. Sometimes even more. Why? Because we will play the games and win the tickets (hey, it’s fun!), but then Simon looks at the prizes and picks something that costs 20 tickets, like a small orange spider. Then all those tickets roll over. Every once in a while, he picks something big, like a ball (anywhere from 200 to 1,000 tickets) or even a slinky (60 to 500 points).

Back to the topic at hand, though.

The party!

Simon asked for the party, and while he wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese since then, he hasn’t focused on it just being for a party. He hasn’t decided that he needs a party now now now.

That’s success for us. And him.

So we’ll be planning the party, and I’ll be setting up his Amazon wish list, and we’ll see (some of) you in June!


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